Last month I was minding my own business attending a minor league baseball game with friends, thinking not a whit about the arts. Then something remarkable happened.
Between innings, a young girl who had endured multiple open heart surgeries that saved her life was recognized, along with her family and doctor. She then ran around the bases as part of a program by the ball club called “Home Run for Life.”
This girl’s story had nothing to do with baseball. The program is clearly an effort on the part of the team to connect with its community. So that got me thinking…
What was the mindset that led to this promotion?
Clearly, it was about the team’s interest, for pragmatic reasons to be sure, in being seen as a responsible, caring member of the community. What really got the wheels turning was trying to imagine something similar happening in the arts.
Some of you may say that such a program would not be appropriate for an arts organization, and I am certainly a stickler for focus in adhering to the mission. This specific example is probably not a helpful model. But it’s the mindset that led to the “Home Run for Life” program that intrigues me.
What sorts of activities might come from a view of the “arts self” wanting to connect with the community, even ones that were not directly related to the arts?
After I started down that road, I began to look at the other activities at the ballpark that evening. There were fan participation activities, singalongs (including, of course, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”), contests, and fireworks at the end. Many of them were silly to the point of being embarrassing. Many (most?) had little or nothing to do with baseball. I would certainly not advocate for toddler races in Symphony Hall! Read the rest of this entry »